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American finance 美国金融

来源:Economist 编辑:Alice   VIP免费外教试听课 |  可可官方微信:ikekenet

American finance
美国金融


A lifeline for AIG
美国国际集团的救生索
America’s government comes to the rescue of a giant insurance company
美国政府决定拯救这个保险巨头


AMERICAN finance has a new, if reluctant, kingpin: the government. In a dramatic move on the evening of Tuesday September 16th the Federal Reserve agreed to provide American International Group with a loan of $85 billion to help it stave off bankruptcy. In return, either the Fed or Treasury will take effective control of the company, which until recently was an icon of private-sector capitalism. In the space of nine days, the government has found itself having to take charge of both the country’s largest insurer and its two giant mortgage agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The move comes two days after Lehman Brothers, a big investment bank, filed for bankruptcy after being denied federal help, and Merrill Lynch, another Wall Street giant, fled into the arms of Bank of America for fear of being swept away by the hurricane battering global financial markets.

美国金融业现在有了个新的中流砥柱——美国政府,尽管它还有点不太情愿。在周二(9月16日)晚间美联储又有引人之举–给美国国际集团贷款850亿美元使其免遭破产的厄运。作为回报,美联储或者财政部将会接管这家到目前为止还是私人资本的标志性的公司。在九天时间内,美国政府发现它要掌管这个国家最大的保险公司和两家房地产巨头,房利美和房地美。两天前,大型投行雷曼兄弟寻求美联储帮助未果而申请破产;同时,因担心被这场横扫全球的金融风暴冲垮,另一家华尔街巨头美林投身美国银行的怀抱。上述美联储的救援行动便是在这样的背景下而来的。

As well as writing general-insurance policies all over the world, AIG plunged disastrously into the market for derivatives linked to housing and credit. Its exposure to the murky credit-default swaps market alone is a notional $441 billion, enormous by anyone’s standards. As the market value of these derivatives fell, the firm found itself strapped for capital, and was forced last weekend to approach the Fed, cap in hand. The central bank initially demurred, instead nudging JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to try to help AIG raise the money from private sources, such as other banks, private-equity firms and sovereign-wealth funds. Those efforts failed, however, and AIG’s predicament worsened on Monday when the big rating agencies downgraded its debt, forcing it to post more than $13 billion of extra collateral with trading partners. At that point officials performed a U-turn and began negotiating an emergency rescue.

美国国际集团不仅在全球发售普通保险,而且还深陷美国住房和信贷有关的衍生品市场。据估计,它仅在糟糕的信贷违约交易市场所曝光的交易额就达4410美元,以任何标准来看这都是异常巨大的。随着这些衍生品的贬值,美国国际集团发现自己资金严重匮乏,不得不被迫在上周毕恭毕敬地向美联储求援。美联储首先拒绝,催促摩根大通和高盛帮助美国国际集团从其它银行,私募股权公司或者主权财富基金等私人资本渠道获取资金。这些努力都失败了,而且随着周一大型评级公司调低了其债券等级,迫使其必须拿出额外的130亿美元担保给其贸易伙伴,这更加剧了美国国际集团的困境。在那时,政府官员开始”U型”大转弯,准备商讨进行紧急救援。

They may have had no choice. Markets did not completely fall apart after Lehman’s bankruptcy, as some had feared, but they were highly agitated. The rate that big banks charge each other for short-term money jumped to three times the level in June, and the cost of protecting against their default broke records. Officials worried that the collapse of AIG, with its $1 trillion balance sheet and operations in 130 countries, could send the financial system into a tailspin. Its CDS counterparties, mostly banks, would have had to write down their positions, straining their capital ratios at the worst possible moment.

美国政府官员没有选择。市场在雷曼倒闭后虽没有像有人担心那样完全崩溃,但是已经极度不稳了。大型银行间短期拆借利率已经变为六月份水平的三倍,而且防止其违约的成本已经打破了记录。美国政府官员担心,资产负债表上拥有1万亿美元和在130个国家业务的美国国际集团的倒闭会使整个金融系统进入失控状态。美国国际集团的信贷违约交易的同行,大多数是银行,不得不为预防可能的最坏时刻的到来降低它们的头寸,改变其资本比率。

The AIG bailout shows how hard it is for America’s financial authorities to steer a straight course through a crisis that is piling one systemic threat onto another. Bear Stearns had been helped in March for fear of chaos in derivatives markets, in which it was a leading player as a prime broker. And, in taking on Fannie and Freddie, they were belatedly making explicit the implicit government guarantee that the twins had long enjoyed in the eyes of investors. In allowing Lehman to go bust when competitors balked at taking it on, Hank Paulson, the treasury secretary, attempted to draw a line in the sand. But AIG was considered simply too big to fail.

对美国国际集团的拯救表明对美国金融当局来说,在危机中保持正确的航线向前行进是多么的困难,因为这意味着将系统威胁传递给其它人。三月份帮助贝尔斯登是因为担心衍生品市场的混乱,因为贝尔斯登作为一个主要经纪人是衍生品市场的领军人物。长期以来,在投资者眼里两房后边一直隐含着政府的担保。而拯救两房只不过就是让这个隐含的含义变得更加清晰而已,虽然来的稍微晚点。当竞购者望而却步时,让雷曼倒闭是财长保尔森在努力恪守自己的底线。但是拯救美国国际集团的理由却很简单,它被认为是太大而不能倒。

Its deep reach into consumer finance also played a part in the decision to intervene. Had AIG gone bust, its millions of customers would have been left wondering if their car and home insurance policies were still valid, at a time when consumers are already twitchy about the safety of their bank deposits. Underlining the risk that the credit crisis poses to small investors, a money-market fund “broke the buck” on Tuesday-that is, its net asset value fell below $1-the first time this has happened since 1994.

而美国国际集团深入大众消费者金融服务也在政府干涉的决定中也起着重要的作用。如果美国国际集团倒闭了,它数以百万计的顾客会疑惑它们的汽车和房屋的保单是否还有效,在那时消费者会十分恐慌其银行存款的安全。一个货币市场基金在周二”跌破净值”–换句话说就是,其财产净值跌破了一美元–这是自1994 年来首次发生此类事件,这更说明了信贷危机带给小投资者的风险。

The government has, at least, demanded a lot for stepping in. It will receive warrants entitling it to a 79.9% stake in AIG. The two-year loan, secured against AIG’s insurance businesses, carries an interest rate of LIBOR plus 850 basis points (hundredths of a percentage point). The government will install new management and will have veto power over all important decisions, including asset sales and payment of dividends.

至少现在,美国政府为介入已经要求很多了。美国政府被允许持有美国国际集团79.9%的股份。保护美国国际集团的保险业务的两年期贷款(译者注:前文所述的850亿美元)的利率是伦敦银行同业拆借利率加上850个基点(一个百分点的百分之一)。美国政府会重设一个新的管理层并且有包括资产出售和支付股息在内的所有决定的否决权。

AIG will raise money to repay the loan by selling assets. The expectation is that the group will be broken up and sold, bit by bit. This would mark an extraordinary end for a company that as recently as last year enjoyed a market capitalisation of more than $170 billion. The company insists that it is illiquid, not insolvent, but the size of the loan suggests that its problems go beyond a short-term cash crunch.

美国国际集团会卖出资产以还贷。预计整个集团会分成几部分分块出售。这会给去年市值还超过1700亿美元的美国国际集团划上个意想不到的句号。美国国际集团坚称其只是没有流动资金而已,而不是破产,但是它贷款的规模却暗示着它的问题远超过短期现金短缺。

The question that hangs over the rescue-apart from whether taxpayers will get their money back-is whether the government can continue to deal with tottering financial companies in an ad hoc manner. Pressure is likely to grow for the creation of a more formal mechanism for handling the sick, akin to the Resolution Trust Corporation that took on bad assets from the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. That, at least, would make the hospitalisation process more transparent. After the historic events of the past fortnight, who would bet that AIG will be the last lumbering giant to need resuscitation?

撇开纳税人的钱是否能够收回不说,即将发生的救援的问题在于政府在这个是否可以继续以这种特别的方式来处理其它的处于困境的金融公司。现在更倾向于使用一种更加正式的机制来处理这种处于困境的公司,类似于上世纪八十年代储蓄和贷款危机中的处理坏账的”解决托拉斯公司的方案”。这种机制至少使”治疗费用”的使用流程更加透明。在过去两周发生的历史性的事件后,谁敢保证美国国际集团是最后一个需要救助的陷入困境的巨头呢?

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intervene [.intə'vi:n]

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vi. 干涉,干预,插入,介入,调停,阻挠

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payment ['peimənt]

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n. 支付,付款,报偿,报应

 
buck [bʌk]

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n. (美元)块钱 n. 钱,鹿皮,(鹿皮等)制物,小伙

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global ['gləubəl]

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adj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的

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corporation [.kɔ:pə'reiʃən]

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n. 公司,法人,集团

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collapse [kə'læps]

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n. 崩溃,倒塌,暴跌
v. 倒塌,崩溃,瓦解

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expectation [.ekspek'teiʃən]

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n. 期待,期望

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bankruptcy ['bæŋkrəptsi]

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n. 破产

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mechanism ['mekənizəm]

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n. 机制,原理
n. 机械,机构,结构

 
mortgage ['mɔ:gidʒ]

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n. 按揭,抵押贷款
vt. 抵押

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